State will team with Mississippi to build mega industrial site

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2003

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley made things official Friday when he announced that west Alabama is in line to receive an injection of economic development help.

As reported last week, Alabama and Mississippi economic development leaders have worked through the details of a plan that would place an enormous industrial site at the crossroads of the Magnolia and Camilla states. That site, maybe best suited for Meridian and Demopolis, would rest at the junction of U.S. Highway 80 and Interstate 20/59.

Economic development leaders in Demopolis hailed the project as a shot in the arm for this region of the state.

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Kathy Leverett, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Development Board, knows the impact this project will have on Demopolis.

With the success Alabama and Mississippi have had luring automotive manufacturers to this region of the nation, Riley and Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove believe the site just West of Cuba could be a perfect spot to lure another car maker.

According to one source close to the governor, Kia Motors is looking to build a manufacturing plant in the United States, and this region may open itself up to an industry like that.

Though the Kia plant is speculation, Riley and Musgrove both believe having a strong Congressional delegation will only add mustard to the punch.

And like football, Riley believes this partnership will merge some of the greatest minds in economic development.

Details of when the industrial site will be built remain sketchy. Last week, a spokesman for Musgrove said there is still a lot of land that must be purchased for the site. Leverett also has heard that multiple land owners must be pursued before Mississippi and Alabama obtain the land.

After that, Alabama and Mississippi &045;&045; possibly though and Congressional act &045;&045; will enter into an interstate pact that will set the guidelines for how this partnership will work.

During his announcement on Friday, Riley admitted that others will have to take the lead in developing this project.